When an entrepreneur has the idea to start a company from nothing, they usually dream that it will one day grow into something amazing, but no one knows for sure. It is estimated that 96% of businesses fail within the first 10 years. It could be argued that not quite that many fail, but the truth remains that many do.
That is why when a company like Hostinger (hostinger.com) bootstraps their company to 29 million users it is so impressive that we at WHSR just have to take a closer look and get some input from someone who has figured out how to thrive in the same 10 years that other businesses failed.
In the Beginning…
Šarune Šaulyte agreed to chat with us about Hostinger and how they've grabbed success and never looked back.
She shared that back in the late 2000’s, everything started with a small group of young, passionate people who had a sole goal – to make the Internet a professional environment of opportunities, accessible to more and more people worldwide. They wanted to share the knowledge that they’d gathered and help people learn to create their websites by having the possibility to experiment freely, with no social, racial or geographic restrictions, and to give everybody a chance to learn, build and grow!
The basic idea was to let users create a basic website for free without limits on PHP or MySQL. They also wanted to offer cPanel capability and no annoying ads to contend with.
People are looking for possibilities, but most of them are starters with a big fear of failing. This is why we provide a fully working web development environment absolutely for free. You don’t need to break the bank in order to start your first real working website, design a beautiful portfolio with free Easy Website Builder, or simply try your first “Hello World” scripts without spending a penny.
How Can You Succeed When Your Services Are Free?
Naturally, I wanted to know how Hostinger has found so much success when they don't charge for their services.
I really dug deep and picked Šarune's brain about this. I know many of our readers offer free classes, books, blogs and other services and products for free and would benefit from her knowledge in this area.
From 0 to 29 Million
The first step was gaining 29 million users in 178 different countries. Wow! Those numbers are impressive by any standards. Hostinger averages 15,000 new sign-ups most days, or about 1 new client ever 5 seconds.
Hostinger was established as a small private company and the funding came from the savings of those same passionate, young people. Šaulyte? shared:
The biggest challenge they faced were the negative thoughts of the people around them, who didn’t believe that Hostinger would succeed. They were told that to become pioneers in web hosting was mission impossible. Yet, as you can see all these people were wrong and Hostinger grew into an international company with millions of happy clients and offices with staff located almost all over the world.
The key takeaway from this is that if you have a dream you shouldn't let anyone discourage you.
Even if you have to figure out a way to raise funds, fund the dream on your own, and no one else believes in you, you should never give up on your dreams as a business owner.
Leveraging Customers and Affiliate Referrals
Šarune credits Hostinger's success both because of loyal customers who have stayed with them and for those referring new clients to them.
Referrals account for a big majority of their growth.
Everything started [with] the development of a good free web hosting platform for learners and starters. People started referring their friends and others who needed free web hosting services for experiments and studying. It all started to grow into a large open community that pushed us to work even harder. Most of the users who started with Hostinger decided to continue their journey with us and also continue recommending us, so the growth never stops, we simply grow faster and faster.
You are probably aware of the power of word-of-mouth networking already.
According to Nielson, about 84% of consumers say they trust a recommendation from a family member or friend more than anything else and are much more likely to make a purchase. Harnessing the power of referrals is one smart way that Hostinger continues to grow.
You'll note on their website that they have a button named Recommend Our Services centered around this concept.
So, how does this recommendation program work?
Users sign up for free, which encourages more people to sign up. You get a unique affiliate link. You can then add banners and info to your website using that link. When people sign up for paid packages, you earn money. You get to recommend a product you already love, too. This is a brilliant program on their part. Even if someone just signs up for a free service, they are gaining customer who may remain loyal and purchase a package later down the road.
Building Team Loyalty
I wondered about how loyal people would remain. Would they simply take the free product and run? Šarune shared that many of them remain very loyal to the company.
“In almost any part of the world, usually in some developer camps and sessions, we meet lots of professionals who were learning their first digital world steps exactly with us,” said Šaulyte. “Today most of them are working for big companies or became independent web entrepreneurs. If you enjoy using a service, what’s the point in wasting time and searching for another one with possible fails and disadvantages?”
Šarune goes on to encourage young entrepreneurs that such a strategy model can work for almost any online business.
The important thing to remember is that you have to respect your clients, free or paid, and give them an experience they enjoy and demand. That’s why we give our clients cloud hosting for free – to have a great experience and enjoy website building their from the very start and have them fast as the speed of light. They don’t have a reason to move elsewhere. We are really happy and proud that we grew such a huge community that doesn’t stop growing. This means that we are doing something right, indeed.
They also created a blog and tutorials with the express intent of creating better communication with their clients and to also reach more people and share their knowledge.
“Having a blog is important as we can share company updates and inform our clients about new things that are happening, technologies that we are implementing and inspire them by sharing ideas on how they can learn new things as well as profit from their website(s) later.”
Šarune went on to point out that Hostinger tutorials are the very first place where web hosting newcomers can gather their knowledge by doing things step by step.
Offering high value content helps attract people to their website and then the services they offer encourage those same site visitors to sign up.
Not only will the best employees be retained, saving money on recruiting and training new ones, but the best and brightest will be attracted to working in such an environment.
They company has pizza on Fridays, does yoga together, goes skiing, grills out and more. This also helps build the team and gets everyone on the same page with company attitudes and philosophy. It is a smart move for sure.
Moving forward, Hostinger plans to launch industry’s cheapest Windows VPS platform, so their clients can choose whether they prefer classical Linux-based or Windows-based VPS services.
“Not only that, due to having a great partnership with .xyz domain registrar, we’re a part of their numeric domains campaign, such domains can be used to encrypt an important date, turn your phone number into a website and much more,” Šarune added.
Big things start from small steps, so it’s time to make your first one and we’ll help with the rest.
A big thank you to Šarune Š. for some insight on how to build a company from a dream into a highly successful international company.
If this story inspired you to throw caution to the wind and go after your own dreams, then let us end by encouraging to take that first small step today toward making your dreams come true.
Lori Soard has been working as a freelance writer and editor since 1996. She has a bachelor's in English Education and a PhD in Journalism. Her articles have appeared in newspapers, magazines, online and she's had several books published. Since 1997, she has worked as a web designer and promoter for authors and small businesses. She even worked for a short time ranking websites for a popular search engine and studying in-depth SEO tactics for a number of clients. She enjoys hearing from her readers.